I attended the Faslane 365 blockade yesterday with my parliamentary colleagues, Frances, Carolyn and Rosie. I've copied my speech below and will add links to the various news stories about the event.
‘Faslane 365’ Jan 8th 2007
Intro* May I begin by congratulating ‘Faslane 365’ for organising today and this year long protest.
*Proud as the National Convenor of SSP to be with you today. As you know the SSP are proud supporters of the disarmament movement and have been here many times before. You know you can trust the SSP on Trident.
NO party done more to keep the issue in the public eye and to mobilise opinion.We consider these weapons to be immoral, illegal and a colossal waste of money.We would rather see it spent on peace, on health, education and social services instead.
The Govt’s Case*
This is such a profound political issue that I fear any party which has MSP’s, MP’s and MEP’s both for and against nuclear weapons is not a principled party at all but merely an accommodation.Equally it is dishonest in my view to hide behind the excuse that this is a Westminster issue – this is not a Westminster issue, this is an issue for all humanity. And this is certainly an issue for the Holyrood Parliament, one which it is morally and politically obliged to take a stand on.
* Tony Blair and Jack McConnell like to lecture us, and with not a little pompously, about how they are courageous enough to take ‘difficult decisions’ - usually a euphemism in my experience for doing the opposite of what they were elected to do. Replacing Trident is just such an example.I say to all MSP’s, stand by your principles. You cannot easily claim to be in favour of peace and international goodwill and then hold the threat of nuclear annihilation over humankind.
*I have here the MOD and Foreign Office case for ‘Maintaining the UK’s Nuclear Deterrent’.• ‘It is a fundamental responsibility of Government to provide for the security of the UK and its citizens now and for the future’ it says.And that ‘security’ can only be provided using Trident can it? We don’t have conventional weapons for that? only 4% of the defence budget, that our conventional ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and our continuing ability to illegally invade sovereign nations will not be diminished in any way.
‘The future is uncertain: accurately predicting events over the period 2020-2050 is extremely hard’ the Govt paper goes on. So why spend upwards of £25bn on Trident then if cannot predict it being used?What do we know of the world?
*The USA -The only country in the world ever to have fired nuclear weapons at another nation, is also the country which has a bigger stockpile than all 8 other nuclear states put together.[USA has 32,500 individual nuclear warheads]And has also just invaded/occupied IRAQ and look at the security that has brought the world!
* Looking at the world through the eyes of the 180 countries who don’t have nuclear ‘deterrents’; they see UK, the world fifth biggest military exporter, the country which went into an illegal war alongside the Bush cowboy in Iraq with a constantly deployed nuclear threat able to strike anywhere in the world.Now announces plans to develop a second generation of nuclear WMD’s at a cost which is beyond the GDP of most countries of the world. They must surely wonder -Who protects the world from US and UK Nuclear WMDs?
‘There is a potential risk of state sponsored terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.’ it adds.Fact: there are 9 countries with nuclear weapons – US, Russia, France, China, UK, India, Israel, Pakistan and now North Korea. ‘Currently we know of no state that has both a nuclear capability and the ability and intent to use it against our vital interests.’But Britain has the CAPABILITY, and regards INTENT it admits it would defend ‘OUR VITAL INTERESTS’ the very reason it gave for invading Iraq.Following the disastrous war in Iraq it also has ’FORM’ on acts of aggression.
‘The UK is committed to working towards a safer world in which there is no need for nuclear weapons.’YET UK just announced plans to build second generation of Nuclear weapons at cost £25bn. ‘We have an excellent record in meeting our obligations under the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.’YET UK just announced plans to build second generation of Nuclear weapons at cost £25bn.
*How dare Tony Blair lecture other countries about not developing nuclear weapons and then turn round and spend perhaps £25bn of our money on WMD’s!
Democracy : Scotland – Nuclear Free. Keep Up the PressureAn Independent Scotland would get rid of Trident. I have not the slightest doubt, because it is plainly the ‘settled will’ of the Scottish people to do so.Tony Blair - ‘There will be a full public debate on Trident 2’. Not so, it is a charade, told decision already made. Yet majority of Scots are opposed.All the more reason we must make it an election issue at Holyrood 2007.Because it is an issue for Holyrood, an issue for humankind.
SSP will continue to be at the forefront of the opposition to Trident today and everyday.
BBC News - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/6239435.stm
Daily Record - http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/tm_headline=politicians-lifted-at-faslane&method=full&objectid=18424220&siteid=66633-name_page.html